It’s not just the kids, of course. It is too long and scary a walk on my road for their parents as well. In my day, so long as we went in a group, our parents shoved us kids out the door and let us fend for ourselves. (In 2011 this is probably considered child endangerment, but then it was the norm.) Nowadays the parents are right there along with the kids, at least until the teen years.
Tonight is hardly the best of conditions. The biggest trick this weekend was played by weather. Snow in October is uncommon in NJ, and seldom amounts to more than a dusting even when it happens. The day before yesterday, a foot of snow dropped on us. In January, a foot would be a major annoyance, but not crippling. On Saturday, the storm wreaked more havoc than Hurricane Irene did back in August. Leaves were the culprit. The trees are full of leaves, most of them still green. All that heavy wet snow clung to the leaves and brought trees down in their thousands, smashing wires and cutting power to millions (including my home). The roads are an obstacle course, and JCP&L makes no promises of restoring all power for a week.
The storm, as always, brought out the admirable and not-so-admirable in folks. In the midst of the snowfall, for example, a lady friend of mine called me from her cell phone. She was stuck just below a bend on a hill on Hilltop Road in Mendham, about a mile from my office. I went over in a Jeep to lend a hand. About a dozen cars besides hers were stuck at the bend (anything with 4WD was fine). A tree was down on the road, but one lane remained open. Several men from the neighborhood were there helping out, and doing a good job. By pushing the cars by hand we could get the 2WD cars past the bend. Four other men and I helped push my friend around the bend. She told me afterward that three of them asked for her phone number, which I suppose was flattering if untimely. (Come to think of it, only the women drivers received any pushes as far I recall.) I hadn’t thought of using the circumstances as a dating opportunity myself, which might show a lack of imagination. Perhaps “Shall I push your car?” works as well as the time-honored “May I buy you a drink?” I haven’t tried it.
In any event, most drivers were grateful for the help, but a few tempted us to push them the other way. One driver in particular was raging because she was blocked by cars in front of her in exactly the same way she was blocking cars in back of her. "You f_____ morons! Idiots!" [Apparently they were idiots for being in the exact same fix as she, but in front instead of behind.] "This is too much! I just can't deal with this!" she shouted at us, as though we all had conspired to make her in particular stuck and miserable. Even though the whining made us all hope a tree would fall on her car, we pushed her up around the bend anyway. Once around the bend, she pumped a self-satisfied victory fist without so much as "thanks” wave. Well, maybe a tree fell on her later.
So tonight, I imagine I’ll be in my dark house (the power is still out) with my black cat. While I’ll keep a bowl of sweets handy, if there is a knock at the door, the candy-seeker most likely will have a fine fur coat, claws, and bad breath.
Where Are the Children with Candy?